Using print and digital innovations together can be powerful

Digital innovations have undoubtedly transformed how businesses communicate and market to customers – but this doesn’t mean the old school world of print is dead.

A printed brand magazine, for example, can be an extremely powerful marketing tool. Not only is it considered prestigious but it can easily be retained as a physical entity within an office or home – giving it a longer shelf life than most digital content. A growing number of businesses are also beginning to combine new digital technologies with print, such as augmented reality (AR), and giving physical publications a whole new lease of life.

Ikea is the latest brand to combine AR with print. Its 2014 catalogue will allow readers to see what furniture looks like in their home if they hold up a smartphone to their living room after scanning the print image in the publication. This is cleverly enhancing the customer experience in a way that has clear benefits for consumers – and this can only encourage potential buyers to commit to a purchase.

For a furniture company like Ikea, there is an obvious purpose for AR and this technology is also being utilised by fashion brands to show customers what an item of clothing could look like on an individual.

With a little imagine, however, you could come up with hundreds of uses applicable in other industries. For example, a museum or gallery could provide visitors with a visual guide which could direct people from exhibit to exhibit and provide extra information when they scan the display boards. A restaurant could also use AR on a menu to show customers where all the ingredients were sourced.

Smartphones and tablets are now omnipresent so it makes sense to incorporate them in any marketing if possible. And, although AR currently needs users to download an app to use, I’m sure it won’t be long before this technology is built in to devices.

Digital enhancement of the real world in this way does not just create a selling tool, it also provides a more immersive customer experience which will help increase brand loyalty. Done well, digital initiatives can reflect fantastically well on a brand and will portray them as both forward thinking and exciting.

Although, done badly, they can rebound on brand. They are still a form of marketing at the end of the day and therefore, any initiative needs to be consistent with the company’s branding and technical proficient.


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